14% of parents say school must teach children to talk

One in seven parents believes schools and childminders are responsible for children learning to speak, survey shows

Catherine Lough

Children's language development: is it nature or nurture?

One in seven parents of young children feel schools and childcare providers are responsible for teaching children to speak, rather than parents, a new study shows.

The poll, commissioned by the Department for Education, revealed that 14 per cent of parents felt schools or childminders were responsible for teaching young children – aged 5 or under – to talk.

Among parents who felt it was the responsibility of schools and childminders, their child was less likely to look at books or read with someone at home every day – 68 per cent compared with 80 per cent of children whose parents did not think it was teachers’ responsibility.

These children were also less likely to look at the alphabet (31 per cent compared with 42 per cent) or paint, draw or make things together with someone at home on a daily basis (10 per cent versus 18 per cent).

Teaching children to speak

And they were less likely to play pretend games or take turns in fun activities with the interviewed parent on a daily basis (41 per cent compared with 54 per cent).

The poll also found that most young children – 81 per cent – had used an app on a smartphone or tablet in the past six months, with the majority of those – 75 per cent – using a developmental or educational app.

And it revealed that 25 per cent of parents struggled to fit learning and play activities with their child into their daily routine.

Furthermore, most parents – 78 per cent – with a child aged up to 2 who was not receiving formal childcare said they would be likely to put their child in formal childcare if 15 free hours of childcare were available to them.

A DfE spokesperson said: “A child’s early education is crucial to their future success and our research shows that young children, especially the most disadvantaged two-year-olds, benefit from an early start to learning.”

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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